Crossbow or Horse Riding: Which One Is a More Expensive Hobby?

Hobbies are great pastime activities, but although we like some things, sometimes we have to face the expenses. Hobbies can go from really cheap which practically doesn’t cost you any money, to thousands of dollars per month.

So, although we like to choose an activity that we like, sometimes it can make our wallet cry.

Planning your hobby expenses can be a real nightmare, and to be honest, sometimes it can take away the fun from it. But it is a job worth doing, especially if you want to make good financial decisions.

In this case, we’ve selected two quite-odd hobbies that are not that common. We are talking about crossbows and horse riding. Quite an odd comparison, right?

Well, both of them are quite good at giving you that relaxing and tense feel at the same time, but what about their costs?

Initial Costs

Crossbow Shooting

First off, if you’re considering getting into crossbow shooting, you need a crossbow. And not just any crossbow, a good one. Cheap crossbows can start around $300, but if you want something that will actually hit what you’re aiming at, you’re looking at $600-$1,200. Let’s break it down:

  • Entry-Level Crossbows: $300-$500
  • Mid-Range Crossbows: $600-$1,200
  • High-End Crossbows: $1,500-$3,000

Now, add to this the cost of arrows (bolts), which run about $30-$60 for a pack of six. Don’t forget a decent target, which can be another $50-$150. If you’re feeling fancy, you might want a scope, adding another $100-$400. Overall, you could easily drop $1,000-$2,000 just to get started.

Horse Riding

Getting into horse riding? Oh boy, this one can get pricey really fast. First, there’s the horse. You can lease a horse for around $200-$500 per month, or buy one. Buying a horse can range from $1,000 for an old nag to $10,000 for a decent beginner horse, and up to $100,000 or more for a top-quality show horse.

But if you are a beginner, you won’t need a horse that can rival the top contenders of the Belmont Stakes, right? You can do casual rides with the least expensive horse.

Since the Belmont Stakes is right around the corner, you can check here how much the contenders are worth: twinspires.com/belmont-stakes/contenders/

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Leasing a Horse: $200-$500/month
  • Buying a Horse: $1,000-$100,000+

Then, you’ll need horse riding gear. We are talking about saddles, bridles, etc, which can run $500-$2,500. Riding apparel (helmet, boots, breeches) might set you back another $200-$800. And don’t forget the lessons. Riding lessons typically cost $30-$80 per session. Before you know it, your initial costs can skyrocket to $2,000-$15,000 or more.

Clearly, horse riding is way more expensive if you want to buy your own gear. But you can always go to a horse facility and rent out the gear and the horse for a couple of hours.

Ongoing Expenses

Crossbow Shooting

Once you have your best crossbow, ongoing costs are relatively low. Bolts wear out, so you might spend $50-$100 a year replacing them. Practice sessions at a range might cost $10-$20 each time.

If you get into hunting, licenses and permits can add another $20-$100 annually, depending on your location. Not too bad, right? On average, expect to spend about $100-$300 a year.

Horse Riding

Horse riding’s ongoing costs are where things really get interesting (expensive). Boarding your horse can range from $300 to over $1,000 per month, depending on the facility and location. Feed and bedding cost another $100-$300 per month.

Routine vet care, including vaccinations and dental care, can add another $300-$500 annually. Don’t forget farrier costs for shoeing or trimming, which can run $50-$150 every six to eight weeks. Here’s the math:

  • Boarding: $3,600-$12,000/year
  • Feed and Bedding: $1,200-$3,600/year
  • Vet Care: $300-$500/year
  • Farrier: $300-$900/year

In total, ongoing expenses can easily range from $5,400 to $17,000 per year.

Time Commitment


Crossbow shooting is relatively low-maintenance in terms of time. A couple of hours a week at the range is usually sufficient. Plus, there’s minimal upkeep for your gear—just make sure your crossbow is clean and your strings are in good shape.

Horse Riding

Horse riding, on the other hand, demands a lot of time. If you own a horse, you’re looking at daily visits to the stable. Even if you’re just leasing, you’ll need to ride several times a week. And let’s not forget grooming, feeding, and mucking out stalls—horses are basically big, expensive toddlers.

Fun Factor

Crossbow Shooting

Crossbow shooting is thrilling and can be a great stress reliever. The satisfaction of hitting a bullseye or successfully hunting a game is hard to beat. Plus, it’s relatively easy to learn and doesn’t require a huge time investment once you’re set up.

Horse Riding

Horse riding is an experience like no other. The bond you develop with your horse, the joy of a canter through a field, or the thrill of a successful jump is incomparable. However, it does come with a steep learning curve and a significant time commitment.

Conclusion: Which Hobby Wins?

So, which hobby is more expensive? If we’re talking strictly dollars and cents, horse riding takes the cake by a long shot.

With high initial costs and ongoing expenses that add up quickly, it’s a substantial financial commitment. Crossbow shooting, while not cheap, is significantly less burdensome on the budget.

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